Dog bites can be a premises liability issue in California

Premises liability lawsuits are often thought of in regards to someone getting injured on someone else’s property due to a dangerous or hazardous condition. However, there are some situations in Orange County in which a dog presents that dangerous condition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of injuries that stem from a dog bite come from a dog with which the victim is familiar. As such, having a dog in the home actually increases the odds that someone will suffer an attack.

Under California code, homeowners are responsible for keeping their property safe for invited guests. This can include animals that freely roam through the house. Dog bite laws in the state note that if someone is lawfully on the animal owner’s property and is bitten, the victim can hold the owner responsible for damages.

When a bite occurs under these circumstances, homeowners insurance could cover the cost of the resulting medical bills. The Insurance Information Institute reports that one-third of all liability claims filed through homeowners insurance policies in 2014 were attributed to dog-related injuries.

It should be noted, however, that these types of claims are limited in what damages are covered. For example, medical bills could be paid, but homeowners insurance may not pay for therapy associated with the emotional scarring that an attack can cause. Further, insurance policies often have limits, which could leave a victim short of the compensation necessary to recover. Filing a lawsuit against a dog owner may be the best way to recover the funds necessary for victims to move forward.